German prosecutors on Thursday charged five Sikh men with being members of an international terrorist group, and accused three of them of allegedly plotting to kill political opponents in Austria and India, reported dpa.
The men, aged between 31 and 41 years and of Indian and German nationality, have been accused of being members of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), which calls for an independent Sikh state in the Indian subcontinent.
Two of them - the alleged ringleaders - were arrested in July, while the other three are still at large.
Based in Germany, the men allegedly carried out the bulk of their activities in the western Rhein-Main conurbation. Their case was brought to the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, which must formally decide whether to bring it to trial.
In the 1970s and 1980s, calls for a separate Sikh state led to widespread violence in India, which was followed by a severe government crackdown. The Khalistan movement exists on a much smaller scale now.
The alleged ringleaders - identified as Bhupinder S B and Gurmit S - and Mandeep S, a German citizen, are suspected of plotting to murder the leader of a rival Sikh group at an event in Austria last year.
Gurmit S allegedly acquired a gun and munition, which Mandeep S was tasked with transporting from Hamburg to Austria for the assassin, the prosecution charged. The attack failed because of the large police presence at the event.
The men were also involved in a plot to murder a Sikh leader in India, the prosecution charged.
Prosecutors said the two alleged ringleaders were active in Germany from 2009 until their arrest in July. They were allegedly in regular contact with KZF leaders in Pakistan and were tasked with acquiring weapons and transferring money.
Two other men, Jagtar S M and Sukhpreet S, allegedly helped the KZF leaders carry out their tasks, in particular by acquiring weapons. Sukhpreet S is also accused of failing to report a planned crime.